moreshortstuff

Life, kids etc.

Pina coladas and walks in the rain. Without pina coladas.

A pair of Wellington boots

If you don't have a pair of these, get some. They will come in handy.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 6 JANUARY 2012
I’VE had this week off to look after the nipper before he goes back to school.
I seriously can’t wait to get back to work.
Normally, Mrs Short is on hand to keep a lid on things and make sure the day to day running of the family is all clockwork and tickety boo.
But this week, with her at work, it has just been me and the boy. And to tell you the truth, I’ve found it a bit of a struggle.
At work you can always snatch a five minute chat with someone, grab a coffee from the machine or even just nip to the loo.
I’ve not been able to do any of that stuff – he is relentless. He won’t let me out of his sight.
It feels like one of those East European stag dos where the stag gets handcuffed to a midget.
If I try to leave the front room for a minute he demands to come as well, or just shouts after me at the top of his voice until I come back.
Always asking questions, questions, questions, or just jumping on me. He loves jumping on me, especially when I least expect it. How can someone so small make me feel so much physical pain? Although when I said exactly those words to Mrs Short on her return from work, she shot me a look of pure evil and started banging on about childbirth or something. Whatever.
Anyhow, the fact the rain’s been a bit biblical this week has meant we have been largely stuck indoors too.
By Monday, I had run out of creative things to keep him occupied. There are only so many cookies you can bake or pictures you can draw. And for a kid who got 1,001 toys and games for Christmas, I‘m amazed that he hasn’t wanted to play with any of them this week.
By Tuesday we took down the tree and decorations a bit earlier than planned, just to give him something to do. Then we chopped it up for the recycling bin – he was surprisingly adept with an axe and saw for a four-year-old. Still, he was finished in 40 minutes and back shouting and jumping relentlessly.
By Wednesday I was going stir crazy so we chucked on our waterproofs and wellies for a ‘nature walk‘ in the woods near our house. We might as well have just got in a cold, muddy bath and started hitting each other with thorny brambles. It was awful. There was so much aimless trudging and so much water, it felt like I was in the Poseidon Adventure. If Gene Hackman’s part had gone to a chattering child in Ben 10 wellies, that is. We managed to get lost in a wood not much bigger than a football pitch, saw one nervous, wet squirrel, a crow (in the distance) and a bird’s nest with some beer cans in it.
When we got back we were wet, cold, muddy and covered in scratches.
But you know something? It was almost all worthwhile. For as we sat in front of the fire with our hot chocolate, he turned to me, smiled, and said: “I’ve had a brilliant week with you, Daddy.”
It melted my heart. These few days, I thought, encapsulated everything that fatherhood is about. Then he quickly followed it up with: “So now can I have a biscuit?”
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A lesson in how not to holiday with children

English: The Passenger Oxygen mask of CA976 fl...

Yay! We get to have a go on the oxygen masks, Daddy!

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS ON FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 2011

Away on a family holiday this week for a special celebration.

There are 13 of us. Well it seemed like a good idea at the time…

We had to get special permission to take our older boy out of school for this but it has proven very educational. At least, it has proven very educational for the grown ups on the trip.

For me and Mrs Short, it’s the first time we’ve gone abroad with the kids. So the first thing I learnt was this: get a taxi to the airport. “Let’s take the boys on the train, it will be like an adventure starting for them,” we said. How wrong we were. Trying to force your way onto a packed train with a giant suitcase, pram and baby under one arm is the opposite of fun. But at least it prepares you for the hell of the plane.

If you’ve never flown with a baby in tow, my advice is don’t! I’m surprised there isn’t a book on this to prepare you, or at least a chapter on it in all those parenting guides you can get. But then again I suppose no amount of planning can prepare you for an infant filling his nappy in a confined space at 30,000 feet. Just as the ‘fasten seatbelts’ sign has gone on so that neither you or any passengers nearby can escape the sickening whiff for a good 20 minutes.

Mind you, it was our four year old who worried one of the passengers the most. You could hear the sobbing groan of despair from The Most Terrified Of Flying Woman In The World a row in front of us every time he asked a question that started with “Mummy, if we crash…” You would not believe how many questions can start that way. But he was so looking forward to crashing – you get your own oxygen mask and a life jacket with a light and a whistle on it and everything!

Finally we reach our destination and learn another new thing. Minibus drivers in some countries hate it when the passengers sing! He finally snapped at the 28th chorus of “The back of the bus cannae sing, cannae sing, cannae sing.” What a grouch!

The rest of the holiday so far has seen my learning curve continue to go up. I’ve always thought beaches sucked – what’s the point of going to a place just to get sand everywhere? – but they are even suckier with kids in tow. Did you know it can take upwards of an hour to find mummy’s bag when they have “buried it”. How we laughed. Other lessons have included: don’t let a child order octopus in restaurants, no matter how much they plead; the game of charades has limited appeal when ‘Spiderman’, ‘Cars 2‘ and ‘Batman‘ are the only films one of the other contestants can remember; your dad’s “theory” on the disappearance of Madelaine McCann sbould not be aired in a public bar; and kids are rubbish at poker. There are still a few days to go. Who knows what lessons still await?

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